Do not accept the first thing you’re told if something inside you rebels. I went to my family doctor in 2006 only to have my complaints ignored. “You’re stressed out,” and “Take some time off,” was the best I could get. Excuse me, Mr. MD, but my cancer wasn’t taking any time off. It was spreading like wildfire.
You have to listen to your inner voice, and I didn’t listen to mine. I listened to the words of an expert, who it turns out wasn’t an expert at all. He’d never seen a case of mesothelioma in 25 years. Because I was only 32 nobody pushed to get real answers.
But nothing in life is all good or all bad. It varies depending on your mood, your situation, and the ebb and flow of the illness itself. My cancer brought me closer to my family. I learned who my friends were, and I cherish them now. I have changed my approach to life, because there’s so much less of it left. The minutes, the seconds, really do matter, and the funny thing is, they mattered all along—it just took a terrible disease to show me. The me that used to hold grudges is gone, or rather the grudges are gone, replaced with a funny kind of clearness.